PGB, the €18bn pension fund for the Dutch printing industry, has committed €20m to a microfinance fund launched by Actiam, the successor of SNS Asset Management. The fund – the Actiam Institutional Microfinance Fund III – has been launched for six institutional investors, including the €13bn railways scheme SPF and the €3bn pension fund for public transport, SPOV.The asset manager said the duration of the fund would be eight years and that the target return would be approximately 6%.It added that total commitments were €130m to date. Rob Heerkens, board member for investments at PGB, said: “We consider microfinance as a deliberate choice for ESG investment.”The industry-wide scheme previously invested €8m in a predecessor of the Actiam fund.According to Jacques Kappé, SRI portfolio manager at SPF Beheer (the asset manager for SPF and SPOV), the new fund ties in with its clients’ desire to affect social and sustainable change against an acceptable return.“With a return of more than 5%, Actiam’s first microfinance fund fully met our expectations, and also demonstrated its social impact,” he said.However, Kappé declined to disclose the size of SPF and SPOV’s commitments to Actiam’s new fund.Theo Brouwers, director at Actiam Impact Investing, said the social and financial returns of these microfinance funds met market expectations.“Financially, the returns are at the same level as from regular funds with a similar risk profile,” he said.“However, in this case, both the investor and the investment target receive a social return.”Within Actiam, Actiam Impact Investing focuses on socially relevant corporate activities, such as microfinance, small and medium-sized enterprises in developing countries and clean energy.
He told a news conference: “I have to be honest and say yes. “I’ve known Simon for a lot of years now. He’d looked at the case too. He was of the opinion to give the kid a chance. I can only say on behalf of myself, I know I might be upsetting people but there is a question of the rape and how he’s been convicted by a jury. “When you look at the evidence, it is there for appeal.” Evans was refused leave to appeal but his case is now going before the Criminal Cases Review Commission (CCRC). Bruce added: “I’m a big believer that if you have done your time everyone deserves a second chance, we have seen footballers involved with accidents and being given a second chance. “It’s a very difficult situation for everyone concerned. It’s a pity they could not have the appeal and get it over and done with. “It has divided opinion of course and when you look at the case in detail and, I don’t think most people have really, because they have just seen Ched Evans as a convicted rapist, when you do look at the case and look at the evidence then certainly Ched has got a case. “For me the appeal can’t come quick enough for Ched. It must be a frustrating and difficult time for him and I think the events of the appeal, for me, will see Ched be allowed to play football again.” The CCRC is an independent public body that reviews possible miscarriages of justice in the criminal courts of England, Wales and Northern Ireland and refers cases to the appeal courts . Oldham pulled the plug on a deal on Thursday after a storm of opposition but Bruce said he believed Evans should have been given a second chance. The League One club’s chairman Simon Corney had said three Premier League managers had offered him their support and Bruce confirmed he was one of those. Press Association Hull boss Steve Bruce has disclosed he was one of the Premier League managers who contacted Oldham to give his support to their moves to sign convicted rapist Ched Evans.